Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rainy day in SLC

I really needed to see something funny today. And this be it:



I'd like to frame this and put it in our living room, or at least our bathroom.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chatter: Comes by it honestly

Pediatric nurse: "Okay, Patrick, let's get a height and weight on you. . . . stand straight . . . heels against the wall . . . . yes, yes, okay, good."

*turning to me*

"Um, is he always this pale?"




Reminds me of when my friend Diania referred to Matt as "nerd white". And my foundation makeup is always Ivory or Fair on the color wheel. Yep, we be pale in Holtywood. Very, very, very pale.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lucky.

I was doing pretty well with the blog updates for a while, yes? Yes!

But then in mid-January my mom had emergency surgery, then went into septic shock and things went to hell in a hand basket for a while. But I'm relieved to say that she pulled through. She's still in the hospital, but is getting stronger by the day.

It was a dark and scary eight days huddled in that dim and chilly ICU room with my stepdad and sister, who had flown in late on Martin Luther King Day, with her empathetic law firm's go-ahead to spend time at Mom's bedside. And by her bedside we were. Holding her hand and hearing the machine breathe for her, with our eyes trained on the monitors, watching all the numbers as they would rise and fall. All the while thinking about things that you should have said or done or felt while she was well, and how you may not get that chance again. Ugh. Torture. Pure torture.

Nutcracker 2013: Me, Patrick and Nana

After about five days they seemed to have gotten the sepsis under control, but she had been so pumped full of fluid that her lungs weren't working on their own. The fact that they hadn't been able to drop the oxygen below 85% gave us no hope of improvement in sight, and they weren't promising anything. They even thought she might have ARDS, which is not good. At all.

On the sixth day, we saw a new on-call ICU doctor walking the halls in "non-traditional" doctor attire (too tight, too short, too bright) and my sister and I rolled our eyes, made snarky comments (okay, mainly I made the comments) and concluded that she would strut in, look at the numbers, say "we just have to wait and see" like all the other doctors had said, and then strut out. But, you know what? That doctor did something to the respirator levels, gave the nurses a bunch of orders that I didn't understand and got mom in for a CT scan so we would have some idea of what her lungs really looked like. Within 24 hours we had answers, her breathing was really improving and we had some hope. And I had some major guilt over my judging that doctor.

Lesson learned: Doctors can wear whatever the hell they want, as long as they know their shit. And from what I could tell, she surely did. If Matt and I weren't totally done having babies, I would name the next one Stephanie. Girl or boy. Wouldn't matter.

Anyway, this whole scenario was a flashback to 10 years ago when my dad had brain surgery and I spent many days in the hospital hoping with every fiber in my being that he would recover. And he did. And I'm confident that my mom will.

Things like this make you think, don't they?

It's finally hitting home how lucky to have these "bonus" years with my parents after brushes with potentially fatal health issues.

I'm also realizing that my step-parents are such wonderful supports to their respective partners. I do what I can with the time and resources that I have, but it's so very clear to me that my stepdad and stepmom are the people who are utterly devoted to my mom, and dad, respectively. Man! I'm so lucky to have all these parents in my life.

And how lucky am I to have a sister who comforted me when I was losing my grip as they suctioned out mom's lungs for the fourth time of a day?

Very.

How lucky am I to have a spouse who took care of everything at home so I could be where I needed to be?

Very.

How lucky am I to have friends, in-laws, preschool teachers and extended family to fill-in-the-blanks and give the kids extra love, deliver dinner, do school pick-ups and send me comforting texts the whole-day-through?

Very.

It's overwhelming sometimes knowing that I have a network of support this amazing. I just hope that I can offer the same help to them when they all need it.

Life is so wonderful and cruel at the same time. The only way you can get through it all is with good people at your side. And that's the truth.

On a lighter note, Holtywood Manor is the temporary home to my mom and stepdad's dogs, Ginger and Jackie. Yes, it's a white dog festival up in here. Maui and Milo have been pretty good sports about it—they even let these two take over Patrick's beanbag chair.




Think good thoughts, people. And hug your mama. 













Saturday, January 18, 2014

Can I interest you in some old guy dirty talk with your latte? Perhaps a girl brawl?

A typical Wednesday for this SAHM:

  • Get Paddy and Matt out the door with everything they need.
  • Have breakfast with Little Lu.
  • Load dishwasher.
  • Through some laundry in the washer.
  • Get dressed and go out for errands. 
Thus, I hit up a suburban Target after dropping off a thank you note and payment for the dentist who saved my ass mouth the day after Christmas. (Moral of the story: never ever ever ever eat a Christmas wreath cookie with red hots on it if you have veneers.)

And this is where my day took an unexpected turn.

Waiting for my Venti latte and Lucy's kid-sized hot chocolate at the in-store Starbucks, I am hearing the three old dudes in the corner hovering over their black coffees (loudly) say things like:

"I'm just an old-timer stuck in my ways." 
"Things are just so different now, I can barely keep up." 
"...trying to embrace technology..." 
"I refuse to get on Facebook, though."

I smile to myself thinking, aw, how sweet, I bet that's what my dad talks about when he has his weekly coffee downtown with his retired friends. And then . . .

"Yep, I like girls. The younger the better." 
"I can watch two girls go at it all day long." 
"Don't get me wrong, I like a good go-around."

Woah. Woah! NOT MY DAD.

My shoulders start shaking because I'm laughing so hard. The woman next to me looks at me with wide eyes, since she was in earshot too.

Though pretty much the entire front-end of Target was in earshot.

Holy shit, these guys were talking so loudly. And they just kept on and on about it! Maybe they all had hearing aids. Maybe they just wanted to shock people. And if that was the intention, mission accomplished, fellas!

It made me chuckle to myself for the next 20 minutes, until I come across a near-throwdown amongst four women in the Kids clothing section. Words like "fat bitch" and "kiss my ass" were flying. Fingers were flipped. Heels were clicking across the linoleum in anger. It was intense. And, being a worrier, I was 75% convinced that Lucy and I were going be caught in crossfire by the clearance rack. Thus, we got the hell out of there.

On our way out, I was half-tempted to see if the Dirty Coffee Dudes were still there and direct them to the Kids section so they could watch two (or even four) girls "go at it."

Ten minutes later we were in our car, heading towards home. Not your average Wednesday in the land of playdates, grocery shopping and room parent duties. It's amazing what qualifies as a thrill when those things are your day-to-day! Until next time, Target, don't ever change.








Monday, January 13, 2014

Nothing says "get lucky" like "Holty"

Just got an email from one Herman Holty asking to connect with me on LinkedIn:


Herman Holty owns, naturally, Holty Lingerie.


So pleased that shoppers in the Netherlands associate "Holty" with lingerie. Nothing makes me prouder than taking on the surname that specializes in bedroom attire for the sexually active and adventurous!

I absolutely had to look to see if Holty Lingerie fell into the category of Trashy Lingerie or Classy Underthings:

The Victoria's Secret of the Netherlands


For the most part, it's the latter, which was kind of disappointing, to be honest. Was kind of hoping good ol' Herman would give me a family discount on a bulk order of crotchless panties to pass out at the February meeting at the somewhat-conservative book club I'm in. ("Happy Valentine's Day, ladies!")

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Watching out for his mama

My near-7-year-old is very stubborn, opinionated, controlling and rigid, much like my mother likes to remind me I was all through my 18 years under her roof. Oh, and I think I'm kind of still like that now.  But that personal tidbit is neither here nor there.*

Sometimes he is so reactive and headstrong that I want to knock him in the middle of next week. But then some action or conversation highlights his sweetness and I am reminded that he's just a little dude trying to find his way through a childhood where he doesn't get to make all the decisions.

For example, the other day he was brushing his teeth next to me while I was admiring my massive pores in the bathroom mirror. As I was cursing my skin, I noticed my first (okay, second) gray hair. BRUTAL MOMENT. I mutter about it and go forth plucking it (gross, sorry) and Patrick looks over in astonishment and pipes up, "Oh no, mom, that's not yours, that's Grandma's. I think you hugged her yesterday and it just landed on you and stayed there."

The innocence. He still thinks I'm too young for that gray hair BS. Sadly, I'm not. But happily, I've got a sweet kid who speaks from his heart. 




Oh, Paddy. He is worth every gray hair I'll ever get. Unless he impregnates his high school girlfriend. Then I'll have to reevaluate that statement.


*Though I'd like to remind my mother that I never stole the car or drank alcohol or did drugs or hit a teacher or hazed an unsuspecting freshman or got any grade below a B during high school, so . . . 


Monday, January 6, 2014

I've got a plan, man

Hello! Happy 2014!

I've decided that the ridiculous, self-imposed pressure I feel to write retroactive updates on the latter part of 2013 is preventing me from posting about anything since then. And that's just cheating my handful of readers (Hi, Aunt Alice!) out of many, many boring up updates on the Holty Lifestyle.

So . . . . eff that. Let's just pretend that I'm all caught up on everything so I can continue to spew onto this page about current happenings. Okay? Okay.

Most recently, our Christmas was just as jam-packed with social events, overindulgence and consumerism as anyone else's. But occasionally throughout December I would flit about acting as thought I was the only one who was busy. Why do I do that? WHY? So self-involved. Such a first-world, idiot to complain about how I overbought gifts for my spoiled kids for Christmas and NOW I HAVE TO WRAP ALL OF THEM. Nail me to the cross, baby!

Anyway, after the 50th heavy sigh and martyred act of a day Matt would talk me down and let me know that I was acting like an asshole, and I would adjust my attitude and immerse myself into the kind of holiday shit I love: crafts, baking, making neighbor gifts and decorating. (I'm not Mormon, I swear) I also fell into the cliche trap of the coordinated, holiday kid attire when I found $8 deals at Gymboree the week before Christmas. Gross, but so cute. Here's the Plaid Pair:


$16 of adorable, right there . . . 



And here's Lucy on Christmas Eve, singing and putting on lip balm like a boss:


video



Moving forward into 2014, things are going to get much busier for me because of some freelance PR work I'll be doing alongside all the stuff I signed up for at Patrick's school and Lucy's preschool, but you know what? I'm gonna keep things in perspective and try to maintain my cool. RESOLUTION TIME, BABY: When things get stressful, I won't be a martyr-y, middle-class, self-important asshole. (But in times of low-stress, that type of behavior is perfectly okay)



Friday, October 18, 2013

And now, May

May. So so long ago.

Fun fact: My paternal grandmother's middle name was "Mae." I didn't realize this until after we had named our daughter after my maternal grandmother and sister. I should just legally change her name to Lucille Elizabeth Mae Nancy Iona Violet Ellen so we can cover all our grandmother/step-grandmother bases.

Part of the reason I never realized Mae was used in my family was because we didn't really look into a lot of other girl names. Matt knew that ever since I was a little girl I was hellbent on using "Lucy" if I ever had a daughter. So was every other little girl in Utah, it seems:


There it is at #8. Son of a gun. Well, if you ever see me at a playground scowling, it will be because I just met my fifth Lucy of the day. I've caught myself thinking how I can keep Lucy from being the third Lucy in her grade. Options include:

  • Start her on a new nickname that will stick by the time she's 5—we already call her Lu or Louie 50% of the time; 
  • Call her her given name—Lucille; 
  • Put out a hit on the other incoming Lucys; or
  • Get over it. 
I should get over it. I don't know why it bugs me. A lot of other people chose that name based on family history, and even if they didn't, they have every right in the world to call their daughter whatever they want. It's just that I grew up as an Amanda in 1979, so, you know . . . 



Shizz.

Okay, LAST THING I'LL SAY ON THE TOPIC: If I ever meet a Lucy whose parents have jacked up the spelling of her name to something very Utah-ish like Lucigh, Lewcee or Lusee I'm gonna flip out and you'll hear about it on Nancy Grace the next day.


So, pictures! Pictures from May! Yes, yes, that's what I was doing.

May brought more length to L's hair, thus, pigtails.





May was also the beginning of our kitchen/bath remodel saga. Oh, yes, first world problems, I know. But man, it was a looooong summer once we didn't have any running water upstairs for 10 weeks. Put your sunglasses on, here is what we lived with for five years:


 The label on the back of the almond fridge told us it was purchased at ZCMI in 1987. Only the best for us!
No cabinets on opposite wall - had to improvise with IKEA stand-alone base.

Original metal cabinets, fronted with Sunny (Hello!) Yellow formica.
Also, are you digging the faux-woodgrain counters and backsplash?
You like what you've see here? Well, this is the company to thank for the circa 1980 remodel.
I'm sure they're still thriving if you want to get an estimate for your own remodel.
Original tilework from 1945. Nice job, but there were cracks, and more importantly, when your kid says that your bathroom is "really cool because it's the same colors as pee and poop" you know it's time to update.

We always called the mirrored partition between the sink and toilet the "Cocaine Shelf." It was our own Studio 54.


Patrick really came into his own near the end of Kindergarten. More confident than we had ever seen. He made many good friends, came away a stellar reader and finally understood that rules applied to him. Small victories!

Final performance with Tanner Dance. He was shy, but did a great job!

Decided he could share his hat, puzzle and flash cards with his sister. Very sweet.
Got the same puke-colored jersey in soccer as he did last year, but flashed a winner smile anyway.


Next up, a June/July/August combo meal.







Wednesday, August 21, 2013

April Catch-Up

EARLY-APRIL: School photo

We again agreed to have Lucy's photo taken professionally, despite last year's result. It can't be that bad again, right?

Missing: One right arm

*sigh*

Okay. Here's the deal. If I ever again agree to a professional shoot, I need to realize that it will be for entertainment value ONLY. It's to laugh at the result of Lucy glaring at the photographer, not to get a decent capture of what an adorable child she is. That's what my on-the-fly (free!) iPhone snapshots are for. See below:


Taken in the tree section of our local nursery; both arms in view and smile on the face. 



MID-APRIL: Farm Day

Our friend Ed has always been so awesome with our kids, despite the fact that he's a successful professional who doesn't have to acknowledge they even exist. But he does. And he even plans an entire day at his family's farm wherein our friend group can feed baby sheep, ride tractors and hang out with the most darling miniature horses you ever saw. His parents even fed us a big ol' breakfast. We are very lucky.

Do you see that sky behind us? Beautiful spring day!



Lu at the helm.


Patrick loved climbing all over the farm equipment. So much has changed since the first Farm Day three years ago when he wouldn't even touch the tractor.



APRIL 18: Feldwomen Weekend in Chatanooga

Matt wrangles the kids for a long weekend while I do Feldwomen nearly every year. Hanging out with the diverse group of women in my stepmom's family is the bees knees. I'm the youngest one in attendance, which always makes a girl feel good. But besides stroking my ego, I feel like I learn a lot from all of them. I love watching everybody interact, catching up on their careers, hearing stories of their experiences raising their near-grown families and placing a mental bet on who is going to drop the eff-bomb first. (Note: It's usually my stepmom, which is a good hint to all of you as to why I speak the way I do.)

This year, we met in Chattanooga, Tenn. so that my grandma wouldn't have to travel as far. It was a really cool city! It seems like it's what Salt Lake is trying to be, but not really knowing how to do. Very walkable, quite eclectic, beautiful scenery, interesting art installations, good food. It was a fun time! I wish I had more photos of all nine of us, but for some reason I just wasn't into playing photographer. I was too busy drinking vodka tonics while trying to play our family's favorite card game, "Oh Hell." Not surprisingly, I had the bottom score.


Our rental house—complete with elevator—overlooked the Tennessee River.



"Grandfather" sculpture in the Bluff View Art District


5 of the 9 Feldwomen enjoying lunch on the River. Clearly, I'm lit.


LATE-APRIL: Birthdays

Lucy and I celebrate our birthdays one day apart. Let's not talk about mine at all, because, well, I don't like seeing that number get so effing high!

But Lu turned two and it was great fun! Just a lil' backyard brunch at our house with some of her little pals and their awesome parents.


I told her she could pick anything she wanted. 



Mrs. Backers, baby!



Birthday brunch in her fave color.


Overwhelmed? Sugar shock? I dunno.


She didn't try to burn her hand off this year! Hurrah! [Note Paddy's utter joy in singing to her. Such a great big brother.]


Playing with some of her gifts.


Hola! I'm the only cute hipster in the world!


Post-party bliss.









Sunday, August 18, 2013

March Recap. Yep, I'm that behind.

2013 has been busy for us. Too busy for words. Too busy for Holtywood. But I'm gonna work at it now. It's my only way to chronicle all we do! I don't scrapbook anymore (how did I ever have the patience for that, anyhow?). I don't even write in the kids' baby books the way I should. But hey, I guess it's better to be spending this precious time with them, rather than spending my time trying to chronicle every little thing. Right? Right. (Just tell me I'm right, okay?)

At least I've got pictures. Even though 50% are from my iPhone rather than our nice camera, I've still got 'em. Dammit. Let's start with March!


EARLY-MARCH: Paddy turned 6

Low key birthday for Paddy this year. Last year's party did me in. But he's still obsessed with Angry Birds, so . . . .






MID-MARCH: Midwest Invasion

In 2012, my uncle died suddenly. And I didn't see how anything good could come out of such a sad state of affairs. But after reconnecting with his daughter—my cousin Becki—during that tough time, we realized that we missed and loved each other and needed to get our families together. And after their visit to Salt Lake this spring, I realized that sometimes there really is a silver lining to the bad stuff.

A nicer bunch of kids we have not met. Mara, Riva and Connor were heroes to P and L and absolute sweethearts to us. Matt and I loved having a Becki and her husband Patrick (yep, that's right. We stole that name right out from under him!) to hang with. Matt and Pat even stole away for a Big Boys Ski Day. And yes, Matt did manage to injure himself. Thanks for asking. So hard to believe, right?

Anyway, we had too much fun with them: Museums, mountains, downtown, etc. But the part I'll remember the most is when I was driving the girls past East High School and offhandedly commented that that was where "High School Musical" was filmed.

{Oh, the shrieking. The teenage-girl-screaming that echoed in my ears will stay with me forever. And I giggle to myself every time I think about it.}

We of course pulled into the parking lot and took the tour. The students seemed used to it and a couple of the nice girls offered to take them to some key spots. The boys were really happy to have two hot little young numbers scurrying through their hallways. I was speed-walking behind them with Lucy, trying to run interference and let any "admirers" know that those two girls are ONLY 12 and 14 THANKYOUVERYMUCH. Mama Bear Holty was on alert.

Oh, and those girls taught me how to Instagram while they were here. So now you will occasionally have to put up with my square, stylized bullshit. SORRY.


The Daniels Crew: Becki, me and my dad
Connor and Maui were pals. I kinda wished that he would take that dog with him back to Minnesota.
No offense to Maui, but talk about high maintenance, good lord.

One night Matt and I took all the kids to dinner alone. This being Utah, I'm pretty sure that people though they were all ours. I gotta say, it was really nice to have more than 50% of my children resemble me. Damn blondies are cramping my style.

OMG. This car. The Green Machine, as we called it, was an upgrade(?) from the rental place. One day we took it to pick Patrick up from school and the kids on the playground thought it was "awesome" and the "best. car. ever". 

We were not familiar with Raffi songs before the kids bought Lucy the sing-a-long books of "Baby Beluga" and "Down By the Bay". Six months later, she still loves those books and sleeps with them almost every night.



LATE-MARCH: Easter

Two years ago, Easter was on April 24, the day before I was induced with Lu. Here I am watching Patrick find eggs in the front yard:

Easter 2011- Mama carrying Lucy


This Easter? Nope. Not pregnant. I will never again be pregnant on Easter. Or any other holiday. Ever. EVER. Ahem . . . Anyway, have I mentioned that I love our neighborhood? It's family-oriented, inclusive and generally awesome. And those Mormons are expert organizers of group events such as the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.

Easter 2013 - Daddy carrying Lucy

Paddy and his bestie - being silly before the hunt

Lu was not into the "hunting" part. But she loved her $1 Target hat!




More Spring/Summer recaps on their way soon . . .

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I'm gonna do it *crossing fingers!*

I'm gonna get Holtywood back up and going. For reals. For really reals. For really really really reals!

Just as soon as my kid starts first grade on August 21. Promise.

This summer has been full of fireworks. Fireworks, I tell ya!

Blondies at July 4th Neighborhood Breakfast - Do you dig the helmet-hat? 






Monday, April 8, 2013

More is Less?

Oh, dear. I have all but abandoned poor Holtywood. I'm not really sure what has been going on the past couple months. I guess I've turned into one of those moms that make me cringe. I'm not working a ton lately, just momming it up and running all over town making kitchen remodel selections. Also, hosted some fantastic Midwestern relatives at our house last month. That's it! I think the more time you have on your hands the less efficient you are. * sigh *

But hey, I've got this for you:



Be back soon to bore you to tears! Stay tuned!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chatter: Nailed it

Last night while we were wrapping a birthday gift . . . .

Patrick: Look Mom! I've got a coke nail! *holds up fingernail with tape on the tip* 
Me: What?! Where did you hear that?
Patrick: Remember when Aunt Liz was here at Christmas? I heard her talking to you about how Lucy's pinky looked like a coke nail. 
Me: Do NOT say that at school.


THANKS, AUNT LIZ.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Richard Blow and Puking Mama

I've been meaning to post both of these pieces of awesomeness for quite some time now, but, you know, things got in the way. Dumb things like making (some) money and (kinda) running a household and (barely) keeping Patrick's visits to the principal's office to a minimum. 

The first is something that I ran across last summer when I was researching pitch-worthy media outlets. Dude, I would change my name too.

For those of you with your minds not in the gutter, "Dick" is a nickname for "Richard." Get it now? Bahahaha!



And this is a sketch Patrick made me when Lucy was about a year old, right around the time it must have been obvious to him that my PTSD from my barf-filled second pregnancy and second go-around with PPD was finally subsiding. "Mom, do you know why your mouth is open in this picture? Because you are throwing up. But I made the sky purple because I know that's your favorite color!"

"P"=Patrick, "L"=Lucy in my tummy, yellow thing=garbage can, my mouth open=barfing